A Guide to His Collection at Georgia State University
University Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives 100 Decatur St., SE Atlanta, GA 30303-3202 404-413-2880 Fax: 404-413-2881 firstname.lastname@example.org
December 19, 2007
EAD version 2002 finding aid created in
XMetaL 4.5 by Bill Hardesty,
December 19, 2007.
Georgia State University Library,
Special Collections and Archives,
1928-1956; 1964-1969; 1975-2002
.25 linear ft. (in
("Curley") Collins (1915-1986) played the fiddle, guitar, and banjo in country
and western bands of the 1930s-1980s, in his native Kentucky, Atlanta, Ga., and
Richmond, Va. The collection documents his career with ephemera including
clippings, programs, and advertisements; photographs; periodical articles and
book excerpts; correspondence; legal documents; and writings. The material
dates 1928-1956, 1964-1969, 1975-2002, and is in photocopied form.
Scope and Content of the Collection
The Curley Collins collection documents the musician's career with
ephemera including news clippings, programs, and advertisements; photographs;
periodical articles and book excerpts; correspondence; legal documents; and
writings. The material dates 1928-1956, 1964-1969, 1975-2002, though all items
in the collection are in photocopied form. The collection contains
correspondence with music historian Wayne Daniel including a questionnaire
Collins completed, as well as copies of several published pieces by Daniel that
discuss Collins and the musicians with whom he worked.
With the exception of the first folder, Phillip G. Collins organized
the collection and assigned folder titles.
Biography of Curley Collins
Ruey Culbertson (Curley) Collins (1915-1986) played the fiddle,
guitar, and banjo in country and western bands of the 1930s-1980s. Born near
Catlettsburg in eastern Kentucky, Curley Collins was the son of Neal (Pop)
Collins, well-known locally as a musician, and Maggie McKnight Collins. He
learned to play the banjo from his father and joined the family band. At age
14, Collins joined a professional group called the Mountain Melody Boys, and
later formed a second group, the Prairie Pals, with a brother and friends. The
bands performed on radio stations in Huntington, West Virginia and Ashland,
Kentucky. Popular bandleader Garner "Pop" Eckler invited the Prairie Pals to
join his group, which he renamed Pop Eckler and His Young'uns. Eckler's
Covington, Kentucky-based band appeared on WLW in Cincinnati, and, in 1936,
relocated to Atlanta to become featured performers on WSB Radio's "Cross Roads
Follies." Pop Eckler and His Young'uns received national exposure through the
NBC network and performed variety shows throughout the Southeast, in which
Curley Collins sang and danced as well as playing the guitar, banjo, and
fiddle. In 1938, Collins won the National Fiddlers' Contest, held at Municipal
Auditorium in Atlanta. Eckler and his band relocated to Wheeling, West Virginia
in about 1942 and then broke up.
Following Army service during World War II, Collins joined Jack
Gillette's Tennessee Ramblers, a group that included musicians with whom he had
worked on WSB, among them singer/yodeler Benny Kissinger. The band performed on
radio in Wheeling and Richmond, Virginia. After the Tennessee Ramblers split up
in 1946, Collins and Kissinger formed a duo act. As "Benny and Curley" they
were featured for years on the "Old Dominion Barn Dance" show on WRVA Radio
(Richmond, Virginia), heard nationally on the CBS network. After "Barn Dance"
went off the air in the mid-1950s, Collins worked full-time as a warehouse
foreman, though he performed occasionally. After retiring from his non-music
job in 1979, Collins renewed his career with Kissinger. Finding an appreciative
regional audience for their old-time music, the pair appeared at "Old Dominion
Barn Dance" reunions, festivals, and at "Lil' Ole Opry" shows in Hudgins,
Virginia. In 1981, the duo recorded an album in Nashville. Collins also played
fiddle with the band Shades of Country.
Collins received a number of honors, including being named a Kentucky
Colonel (1983) and election to the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame (1984).
Posthumously, he was elected to the Old Dominion Barn Dance Hall of Fame (1991)
and received the Founders Award from the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame
(2006). Curley Collins was married four times and had six children. He remained
an active performer until he passed away in 1986.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the
Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring
materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog
using these headings.
Daniel, Wayne W.,
WRVA (Radio Station :
WSB (Radio station :
Restrictions on Access
Unrestricted access. All requests subject to limitations noted in
departmental policies on reproduction.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any
publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection,
the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical
property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from
this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright
holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must
contain the complete citation to the original.
[item], [folder title], Curley Collins Collection, M190, Popular Music
Collection. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University,
Donated by Phillip G. Collins, September 2003.
Processed by William Hardesty, December 2007.
Related materials in other repositories:
Curley Collins Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond
WRVA Radio Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond
Related materials in this repository:
Tex Forman Papers, Popular Music Collection
Wayne W. Daniel, Pickin' on Peachtree: A
History of Country Music in Atlanta, Georgia (Urbana, 1990)